Market research enters the subconscious

Market research enters the subconscious

Discussion:  Automatic emotion recognition software is changing the way market research is conducted by linking a person’s face to their feelings.  The software analyzes what a consumer actually feels based on their subconscious facial response.  This has proven to be a much more reliable source of information, as opposed to what the consumer says he/she is feeling.  This new research technique gives insight into the consumer, and allows researchers to measure it at a distance and in a variety of locations.

Source:  BBC News

Date:  March 6, 2011

Link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12581445

Discussion Questions:

  • If the automated facial recognition technology is adapted for smart phones, so that it is easily accessible by the general population, how might this technology affect our every day lives?
  • This technology could be used as a supplemental lie detector.  How could this potentially be harmful to society?

HP kills TouchPad, looks to exit PC business

August 25, 2011 by  
Filed under App Economy, Change Management

HP CEO Leo Apotheker wants to get HP out of the PC business.

Discussion:  Last week HP announced that it would no longer support its TouchPad, among other things, which had only been on the market for three weeks.  It also announced that it was going to buy British software developer Autonomy.  HP states that it is trying to transition into faster-growing, more profitable businesses like software, servers and corporate technology services.  Currently, software makes up 2% of HP’s sales, while its Personal Systems unit accounts for roughly 1/3 of the company’s annual revenue.  The future of a large portion of HP’s employees is still uncertain, and it will remain to be seen if these decisions will ultimately be beneficial or harmful to HP’s value.

Source:  CNN

Date:  August 18, 2011

Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/18/technology/hp_pc_spinoff/index.htm?hpt=hp_t2

Discussion Questions:

  • HP purchased Palm a little over a year ago (June 2010).  What has changed in the last year to shift HP’s strategy from acquiring Palm to quitting TouchPad and webOS altogether?
  • How is HP’s decision to exit the PC business an example of the sunk cost fallacy?
  • HP’s TouchPad went from selling at a retail price of $399 to $99 after this announcement.  How could this aggressive pricing affect the tablet market as a whole?

The 50 Best Websites of 2011

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Internet Advertising, IT Trends

We honor the scrappy newcomers and established players that make the Web so useful, entertaining and just plain indispensable

Link:  http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/1,28757,2087815,00.html?hpt=hp_t2

Top 10 Internet Blunders

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Cyber Security, IT Security, IT Standards

Google Gets Spammed

Discussion:  This article lists and summarizes what it considers the “Top 10 Internet Blunders”.  The list includes seemingly trivial blunders, like not including “//” after “http://” in the design of internet addresses, to a Cornell student designing the Internet’s first “worm” virus.  Some of the screw-ups are comical, like the BBC mistaking a cab driver for an IT-expert and putting him in a studio discussion, and some are a little more worrisome.  Regardless of the event, there are lessons to be learned though these past mistakes involving the internet.

Source:  Time

Date:  August 2011

Link:  http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1930653_1930654_1930627,00.html

Discussion Questions:  

  • Which “blunder” do you think should be ranked number one?
  • Of these 10 mistakes, how many still need to be remedied today?  Are these “blunders” still issues that we are currently dealing with?

When to pull the plug on old software

The evolution of digital technology can be ruthless in its speed.

Discussion:  Technology changes so fast and so often that sometimes it may seem as if software, for example, is outdated as soon as it is implemented.  Software companies need to find a balance between accommodating old software in new updates, and considering the old software obsolete.  If software companies choose to make new software and updates compatible with older software, they are creating more work themselves and the consumer has no incentive to purchase.  If old software is considered obsolete too soon, consumers may choose a different software provider that does support their older programs.

Source:  BBC News

Date:  August 11, 2011

Link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14437653

Discussion Questions:

  • Is there a general rule of thumb for how old is too old for software?
  • How might cloud computing make this problem non-issue?

 

DEF CON: The event that scares hackers

The "Wall of Sheep" displays partially obscured usernames and passwords obtained by DEF CON hackers

Discussion:  Hackers all over the world come to Las Vegas for DEF CON, which is said to be one of the most dangerous places to use a computer.  Attendees pay in cash and do not register with their real names in order to preserve anonymity.  The rules:  don’t use Wi-Fi, don’t use credit cards, don’t use mobile devices, and keep your eyes on your possessions at all times because someone else is, too.  The lesson:  “It’s not about breaking the lock, it’s about learning the lock can be broken.”

Source:  CNN

Date:  August 6, 2011

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/08/05/def.con.hackers/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Discussion Questions:

  • If DEF CON is so dangerous, why is it put on every year?  Why do venues continue to host the event, considering the excessive amounts of risk that attendees could pose to the average citizen?
  • Who sponsors DEF CON?  Who organizes the speakers and coordinates events for the 15,000 attendees?

Ex-CIA official sounds alarm about hackers’ next targets

Counterterrorism expert Cofer Black speaks at a cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday

Discussion:  The former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, Cofer Black, stated that hackers, who may have started as pranksters, will tamper with the technology that runs real-world infrastructure.  This could ultimately impair National Security.  Black also noted that the act of hacking has moved “into physical destruction of a natural resource.”  At the conclusion of his speech, he urges security researchers in the audience to work to prevent such attacks.

Source:  CNN Tech

Date:  August 3, 2011

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/08/03/black.hat.cofer/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Discussion Questions:

  • Is the war being waged by hackers analogous to the Cold War?  Or, perhaps, is the Internet merely a tool to fight the enemy?
  • Are conferences like these ultimately beneficial or harmful to the advancement of information security?

 

8/6/91 was the first ever website at info.cern.ch

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under No Discussion Questions

Link:  http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/08/06/the-first-website-ever-celebrates-its-20th-birthday/?hpt=hp_t2

New wave of location-based apps mark a ‘paradigm shift’

August 4, 2011 by  
Filed under App Economy, IT Trends, Social Networks

Trover uses GPS to figure out where you are and show you things other users have thought were interesting.

Discussion:  Instead of merely listing places as the result of a search, new applications will tell you where you want to go–it is targeted search versus exploration.  New “discovery apps” give you place-based tips by recognizing and compiling positive and negative chatter about a place, then using GPS to report to the users about places they may like when they are in the area.  Users can also create their own “troves” by taking and uploading pictures of their own.

Source:  CNN

Date:  July 29, 2011

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/mobile/07/29/discovery.apps/index.html

Questions for Discussion:

  • Is there room for exploitation here?  Can’t vendors/marketers post their destinations on these travel sites and artificially beef up the positive chatter in order attract customers?
  • Is the next step only being able to view “troves” posted by people/places that are “in” your network (for example, Facebook friends)?
  • How do these applications verify the chatter and other data that they collect in order to give a recommendation?

Our Web freedom at the mercy of tech giants

Discussion:  Big media companies, and their political agendas, may have enough power to influence free speech on the web.  These companies are currently dealing with the issue of whether or not speech involving slander, hatred or violence needs to be controlled.  It is an issue of genuine economic and security concerns on the one hand with civil liberties and free speech on the other.  We need to make sure that as the government and technology evolve they remain focused on serving the people, especially because the relationship between government and citizens is increasingly dependent on digital platforms owned and operated mainly by the private sector.

Source:  CNN

Date:  July 31, 2011

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/31/mackinnon.tech.freedom/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Questions for Discussion:

  • Do companies like Facebook and Google owe citizens any consideration when they make decisions that affect what can or cannot be posted on their websites?
  • If a person posts a controversial comment on a public blog that is hosted by a company or government, does that company/government have the right to censor or surveil this publicly viewable blog?